Another Hole in Our Gospel? (Or, does it matter to your “gospel” that Jesus rose from the dead?)

One of my favorite books in recent years is The Hole in Our Gospel by the president of World Vision, Rich Stearns.  The hole in the gospel is the failure to care for the poor and needy.

I think we have another hole in our gospel.  I see this in conversations and in comments and youtube videos posted to facebook.

The resurrection seems to often be missing from any presentation of the gospel.

To be blunt: if the gospel as you present it does not need an empty tomb on Easter morning, it is not the gospel of Scripture.

If we say something like, “you are a horrible sinner but thankfully Jesus died for you and if you trust in him you too can go to heaven when you die,” we do not need the resurrection.

The above formulation focuses on Jesus’ death.  Jesus died and presumably his soul went to heaven while his body was buried.  Jesus’ death alone may have made a way for souls to go to heaven .  But in this formulation Jesus is still dead and so are you.  The resurrection is missing.

I am pretty sure that when Jesus was crucified his disciples would have believed that he would have, as a holy person, gone into God’s presence.  Simply “going to heaven when he died” was not “good news” (gospel).

The good news came with the end of the story.  Jesus rose from the dead, conquering death.  The tomb was, and remains, empty.  That is what will get me out of bed with a shout of joy on the morning of April 8th, Resurrection Sunday (Easter)!

(On that note, why do you think the Christian church meets for worship on Sunday?  The Jews were commanded to celebrate the Sabbath day which is Saturday.  This change in days of worship, for a Christian church made up of mostly ethnic Jews, is a huge testimony to the resurrection).

The promise of scripture then is not just that we will go to heaven when we die.  We die and our bodies are buried while our souls go to heaven (though what exactly happens to our soul upon death is a topic more up for debate among theologians).  One day in the future, at the end of time when Jesus returns and creates a new heaven and a new earth our bodies will rise again!  Just as Jesus rose in a complete body (consisting of body and soul) so too will our souls be united with our bodies and made new.

N.T. Wright calls this “life after life after death”.  

That is the goal.  Death, the last enemy, is defeated (read 1 Corinthians 15).  Jesus dealt death a fatal blow with his resurrection but death holds on for a while.  The knockout punch is coming.

Thus, the gospel is not just what happens to my soul when I die.  The gospel is that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, paying the price for all of us, and that three days later Jesus rose from the dead, conquering humanity’s greatest enemy, death.  The gospel is that new creation is already here as Jesus is risen and one day that new creation will ultimately be here as the old fully is put away.

I had this post idea in mind and then yesterday I came across this post which said what I am trying to say much more creatively and movingly then I am able: The Place of Resurrection in Our Christian Tradition

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Human Trafficking News – Recent Reads

The New Christian Abolition Movement:

Motivated in large part by their religious traditions of protecting the vulnerable and serving “the least of these,” as Jesus instructed his followers to do in the Gospel of Matthew, World Relief and other Christian agencies like the Salvation Army are stepping up efforts and working with law enforcement to stem the flow of human trafficking, which includes sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

“Jesus didn’t just go around telling people about himself.  He also healed the blind and healed the brokenhearted, he freed captives, and I think that it would be ridiculous to walk up to someone who is hurting and tell them, ‘Let me tell you about the Gospel,’ and then walk away while they’re still hurting,” Mitchell says.

Your Daughter is the Most Popular New Drug on the Street

The author lists six reasons why this is the case.  What stuck out to me most is that our culture has come to glorify pimps and prostitution:

Prostitution is simply not the taboo it once was. With the increased commodification of women – especially younger women – it has become much more acceptable to look at females in American culture as objects holding only monetary value; a commodity to be bought and sold. This dynamic is certainly nothing new. In 1911, controversial women’s rights advocate and anarchist, Emma Goldman, observed, “It is a conceded fact that woman is being reared as a sex commodity. Whether our reformers admit it or not, the economic and social inferiority of woman is responsible for prostitution.”

However, this commodification of “woman” has increased dramatically in the past century.

Along with the glorification of “pimpdom,” the aura surrounding prostitution as a lifestyle has been elevated to a lifestyle choice with riches and fame as its reward. Few realize how easily and often the abuses of commercial sexual exploitation hide under the cloak of prostitution.

Buying Sex? It Will Cost You

The best way to stop sex trafficking is to stop demand.  And the best way to do this is to arrest the men buying the sex:

Opponents argue that picking up “consenting adults” for a “victimless crime” is Victorian.
But what’s outdated is the notion that prostitution is harmless. Both of us have seen firsthand the devastation on those whose bodies are bought, on families and communities, and on the buyers themselves.

Granted, a small percentage of women in prostitution claim they’re opting for a career like any other. But in the US, females enter “the life” in their early teens and are statutorily raped thousands of times before they are “consenting adults.” At that point, what are their options?

Adds Mary Setterholm, “For some of us, our dignified choice to support our families led us into this socially ‘undignified’ sex trade. But to combine consent with extreme sexual objectification is like saying women demanded liberty to be slaves. The new law is shifting a spotlight on the core issue – demand, not choice.”

Listening to the Saints – Teresa of Avila: The Interior Castle (part 2)

This is my second post on Teresa of Avila’s spiritual classic, The Interior Castle.  Read part one.

The whole point of this work is to show the soul’s journey to God.  But this is no other-worldly, irrelevant spiritual mumbo-jumbo.  Teresa’s message is actually quite practical. She emphasizes that true perfection, the essence of what it means to be a Christian, is to follow the Great Commandments:

“Let us realize, my daughters, that true perfection consists in the love of God and of our neighbour, and the more nearly perfect is our observance of these two commandments, the nearer to perfection we shall be” (Kindle location 561-563)

 “the Lord asks only two things of us: love for His Majesty and love for our neighbour. It is for these two virtues that we must strive, and if we attain them perfectly we are doing His will and so shall be united with Him” (1529-1530)

When I think of nuns I am tempted to think of people who sit in a cloister and think about how great Jesus is all the time. While nuns and monks value the part of life taken up by prayer and meditation, we see that they also are active in the world. Think of Mother Theresa’s work in the slums of Calcutta in the 20th century. Teresa of Avila says that we only know we are loving God if we are loving our neighbor:

 “The surest sign that we are keeping these two commandments is, I think, that we should really be loving our neighbour; for we cannot be sure if we are loving God, although we may have good reasons for believing that we are, but we can know quite well if we are loving our neighbour. And be certain that, the farther advanced you find you are in this, the greater the love you will have for God; for so dearly does His Majesty love us that He will reward our love for our neighbour by increasing the love which we bear to Himself, and that in a thousand ways: this I cannot doubt” (1533-1537)

We may sit in our room praying, or spend time with other Christians studying Bible but if we go out and do not love people there is no point in it. As Teresa says: “It will profit me a little if I am alone and deeply recollected, and make acts of love to Our Lord and plan and promise to work wonders in His service, and then, as soon as I leave my retreat and some occasion presents itself, I do just the opposite” (3211-3213)

I love the perspective Teresa gives to this though. I think we are tempted to judge our success in Christian ministry, our success in loving those around us, in numerical ways: if you are the pastor of a church of forty, you are a failure, but if your church has 4,000, then you are a success. Teresa keeps us honest, reminding us God does not need our work, “what He needs is the resoluteness of our will” (771). We love our neighbor, and thus love God, not to gain anything but simply in order to know God:

 “But how,” you will ask, “are we to gain them if we do not strive after them?” I reply that there is no better way than this one which I have described. There are several reasons why they should not be striven for. The first is because the most essential thing is that we should love God without any motive of self-interest. The second is because there is some lack of humility in our thinking that in return for our miserable services we can obtain anything so great. The third is because the true preparation for receiving these gifts is a desire to suffer and to imitate the Lord, not to receive consolations; for, after all, we have often offended Him. The fourth reason is because His Majesty is not obliged to grant them to us, as He is obliged to grant us glory if we keep His commandments, without doing which we could not be saved, and He knows better than we what is good for us and which of us truly love Him” (1091-1098)

The reward in this is to become more like Jesus: “For His Majesty can do nothing greater for us than grant us a life which is an imitation of that lived by His Beloved Son” (3193-3194)

I find this incredibly encouraging and challenging. Our culture is all about what you produce, how successful you are. Sometimes it seems that Christians, recognizing greed as a sin, simply push greed into the afterlife. Thus, if you abstain from whatever you are tempted with you will get all kinds of rewards when you die. We think of “reward” as “stuff.”

What if reward is becoming more like Jesus?

Then, in the end, the little we do is united with what Christ has already done:

 In a word, my sisters, I will end by saying that we must not build towers without foundations, and that the Lord does not look so much at the magnitude of anything we do as at the love with which we do it. If we accomplish what we can, His Majesty will see to it that we become able to do more each day. We must not begin by growing weary; but during the whole of this short life, which for any one of you may be shorter than you think, we must offer the Lord whatever interior and exterior sacrifice we are able to give Him, and His Majesty will unite it with that which He offered to the Father for us upon the Cross, so that it may have the value won for it by our will, even though our actions in themselves may be trivial” (3286-3291)

For the Kids – Penn State Dance Marathon!

Abbey - our moraler - me

Ten years ago this weekend I danced in the Penn State dance marathon with Abbey (Sacrkrison) Caldwell.  THON is an event that Penn State students have been doing for decades to raise money to fight childhood cancer.  The fundraising each year culminates in the actual dance marathon when, for one entire weekend, forty-eight hours, the dancers stay up – no sleeping and no sitting.

THON is the best thing Penn State students do.  You could argue it is the best thing any group of college students anywhere do since it is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.  Ten years later, I am still proud to have been a part of it.  Especially this year, in light of the Sandusky case, THON can do a lot to repair Penn State’s image nationwide.

To learn more about THON, check out this article: THON is about more than the numbers.

THON is the kind of thing Christians on campus ought to be involved in.  I believe that Christians are called to do good in the world in the name of Jesus Christ.  THON, with the goal to find a cure for cancer, is a good thing.  Like any good thing, perhaps some do it for wrong motives.  I doubt many do it in the name of Jesus Christ.  This does not mean Christians should stop taking part.  If we stopped taking part in everything that some did with wrong motives, we would do nothing.

I hope kids suffering with cancer are encouraged this weekend.

I hope lots of money is raised and progress towards a cure for cancer continues.

I hope THON this weekend takes steps in repairing the image of Penn State.

I hope Christians continue to be involved in THON and anywhere else that good is done.

Hope is a good word.  

For the kids!

Listening to the Saints – Teresa of Avila: The Interior Castle

Let learned men, who have studied, do the writing; I am a stupid creature and don’t know what I am saying. There are more than enough books written on prayer already. For the love of God, let me get on with my spinning and go to choir and do my religious duties like the other sisters. I am not meant for writing; I have neither the health nor the wits for it.” – Teresa of Avila

Those words come from early on in the spiritual classic, The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila. She was inspired by a vision of the soul as a globe in the shape of a castle. This castle contained seven mansions, and by journeying through these mansions the soul came to union with God. Teresa wrote this book in 1577.

I have asked it before: what does a nun who lived over 400 years ago have to teach me? Or any of us for that matter? Well, we may not see the human soul as a castle, but we would probably agree with Teresa that prayer is a key part of a life of knowing Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, we have trouble praying.

Teresa wants to help us: “All that the beginner in prayer has to do — and you must not forget this, for it is very important — is to labour and be resolute and prepare himself with all possible diligence to bring his will into conformity with the will of God.”

Prayer takes work. It is not easy. I know when I pray all the things in my life, all my worries and fears and joys and excitements, come rushing into my head. Just clearing your head, entering a quiet place away from cell phones, computers, kindles (or nooks, if you must), televisions and everything else is next to impossible.

If we manage to get into a situation where we can pray, what do we say? Teresa has some words that may appear harsh to us, but I think there is wisdom in them: “if a man is in the habit of speaking to God’s Majesty as he would speak to his slave, and never wonders if he is expressing himself properly, but merely utters the words that come to his lips because he has learned them by heart through constant repetition, I do not call that prayer at all — and God grant no Christian may ever speak to Him so!

We live in a Christian culture that, at least to me, focuses on joy and happiness and entertainment (Jesus is my buddy!  Jesus is my homeboy!).

It is true that Jesus is our friend. This is a side of who our God is that deserves to be emphasized. But do we over-emphasize it? Do we forget reverence and fear for a holy, majestic God? Do we approach God in prayer flippantly or with awe that we can communicate with the Creator of the universe?

Prayer in terms of just talking to God is completely fine. But just as how a child learns to communicate by listening to others who communicate better, so God has given us all kinds of prayer in scripture (the Psalms and the Lord’s Prayer to mention two) that teach us how to pray.

Or as Teresa puts it: “I see it, we shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God: let us think of His greatness and then come back to our own baseness; by looking at His purity we shall see our foulness; by meditating upon His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble.”

God is truly great and majestic.  Teresa that emphasizes however much we think we know of God, we barely scratch the surface:

we creatures go about like silly little shepherd-boys, thinking we are learning to know something of Thee when the very most we can know amounts to nothing at all, for even in ourselves there are deep secrets which we cannot fathom. When I say “amounts to nothing at all” I mean because Thou art so surpassingly great, not because the signs of greatness that we see in Thy works are not very wonderful, even considering how very little we can learn to know of.”

I can’t leave that as the last word…the beautiful thing is that grand, majestic God took on flesh, was born of a virgin, and walked among us. Awesome.

Letter to a Little Church with a Big Impact

My ministry on campus is made possible by generous individuals and churches who support the ministry.  One of these churches is a tiny church in rural Illinois, about 4 miles from the Indiana border.  It is named after the town it is in, Cheneyville Christian Church, but the town is so small that the address is Hoopeston, the closest town with a post office.  I was pastor there part-time during my first year of seminary (2002-2003).  The church had about 12 regulars on Sunday including one kid, two middle-aged adults and the rest over the age of sixty.  

After financially supporting my ministry for the last five years they recently told me they can no longer, as a “dwindling” congregation, afford to.  Here is my thank you letter to them.  I post it here because it gives a glimpse into the impact small churches can make and it also shows how grateful we campus ministers are to those who support us.

Dear friends,

Thank you SO MUCH for your support of my ministry over the past six years. You all have been a tremendous blessing to my life.

I recall coming to you back in the fall of 2002 (wow, almost 10 years ago) fresh out of Penn State University. Unlike many at Lincoln Christian Seminary I did not go to Bible college. I had never been taught how to prepare a sermon. But you all gave me a chance to preach and pastor. I will be forever grateful for that alone.

When I was called back to Penn State to work in campus ministry in 2005 I decided to ask you all to partner in the ministry. We had not had much contact in my last two years of seminary as I worked in youth ministry at another church. Plus, even then the church was small and I figured with over thirty previous ministers having gone through, there were probably others that you supported. But why not ask? The worst you could do was say no.

To my surprise, you began giving $100 a month and continued for over five years. That makes you one of my top supporting churches. I have fond memories of visiting you a couple times to say thank you in person. In the future, if I am ever passing through the area I will drop by and say hello again on some Sunday morning. The road from eastern Pennsylvania does not easily lead to Hoopeston, Illinois but who knows, maybe I’ll find may way.

If I don’t, I am confident that we will see one another again on the other side of this life. A day will come when the veil is removed and we see God face to face. In that time and place where there will be no more suffering and death, I look forward to embracing each of you for the part you played in my life and ministry.

You will continue to be in my prayers. I imagine that after all these years even though the financial support is ending, you will keep me and my family in yours. And know that when I share stories of small, apparently weak people and communities who made huge impacts both in my life and in the world, perhaps when I share such stories with my daughter, I will mention you and your work.

I will leave you with a passage from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians which has been on my mind since I began writing this:

1:26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Thank you and may Christ bless and keep you,

Dave

Babies, Music and a Dilemma

Having a baby causes you to rethink things you used to think were irrelevant.  I imagine all parents find themselves being confronted with words and actions they always have done without a second thought which now seem questionable with a child in the house.

Right now, I am thinking about the music we listen to.

For the last few years, due to Emily’s influence, I have listened to country.  Well, usually when I am in the car alone I listen to ESPN radio or political talk on the Big Talker.  But when the radio in our bedroom comes on in the morning, it is country.  I never liked country much before, but I admit it has grown on me.

The thing that has troubled Emily and I is that a lot of country songs glorify the consumption of alcohol.  At times it seems like every song is about drinking: Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off, One More Drinking Song, Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo, etc.    Along with that, many songs have bad language in them.  Not f-bombs, but the kind of language I don’t think I want my kid to be hearing and repeating.

I am torn because I have come to enjoy country music.  There are many songs that are fun, even thoughtful and have good messages.  And I do get it, that is kind of the point of country.  The songs are about all the things Americans love: God, alcohol, America and a little good old fashioned cussing.

The alternative seems to be the contemporary Christian station.  I used to listen to Christian music a lot.  Back in high school when I got serious about my faith, finding Christian music was incredibly encouraging.  Over time I lost interest in Christian music (other than Caedmon’s Call and Jars of Clay).  Actually, in my effort to be a “cool” Christian I started listening to U2 and Coldplay.

When I have listened to the Christian station in recent years it just seems like one long church service, with most of the songs on the radio being the same ones we sing in church!  Do not get me wrong, I enjoy listening to praise and worship songs.  The last few days listening to the Christian station has led to me having “Here is Our King” in my head all day, which is certainly a step above “Red Solo Cup” (which may be the stupidest song ever written).  Yet the music played on Christian radio is too filtered and sugary.  There are not many songs about the struggles of life, questioning God, dealing with issues.  The sorts of things one finds in scripture.

Maybe the problem is my perception.

Maybe I should go back to the music of my even younger days, the alternative rock of the early nineties! Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Live…(Bart Simpson: “Making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel.”)

At any rate, I do have a few questions.

Why can’t a “Christian” station play a song by Rodney Atkins, a country singer, about how he wants to be a good example for his kid?

Why can’t a “Christian” station play a song by U2 if it is a great song with a true theme?

What kind of music do other parents listen to?  Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?

I suppose in a year or two the whole issue will be a moot point anyway as Junia will want to listen to kids music all the time!

 

Listening to the Saints – Julian of Norwich: “All Shall be Well” (Part 2)

I previously wrote about 14th century Christian nun and mystical writer Julian of Norwich here.  Welcome to part two.

What use is there in a book written 700 years ago by a woman who lived alone, seeing visions of Jesus which some today would say make her crazy?  I was skimming through reviews of her book on Goodreads and one long review was by a woman whose life was changed by reading this book, she started out an atheist and ended up crying in a church as she connected with her Creator.

There is much value and worth in reading long dead men and women who loved Jesus.

Julian of Norwich writes that in every human is a part that has never sinned. I think she means by this that even as broken, messed up, sinful people we still retain the image of God.  We are not so fallen as to lose the divine spark which all humans have instilled in them.  That said, we are still broken and in need of the forgiveness and restoration available in Christ (which the second quote reveals):

 For in every soul that shall be saved is a Godly Will that never assented to sin, nor ever shall. Right as there is a beastly will in the lower part that may will no good, right so there is a Godly Will in the higher part, which will is so good that it may never will evil, but ever good. And therefore we are that which He loveth and endlessly we do that which Him pleaseth.

Our failing is dreadful, our falling is shameful, and our dying is sorrowful: but in all this the sweet eye of pity and love is lifted never off us, nor the working of mercy ceaseth

Controversially in her day, and certainly controversial in our day, Julian had no qualms about referring to God as “Mother”.  She never did this in such a way as to say God is “mother” rather than “father” but that God consists of both fatherly and motherly traits.

 AND thus I saw that God rejoiceth that He is our Father, and God rejoiceth that He is our Mother, and God rejoiceth that He is our Very Spouse and our soul is His loved Wife. And Christ rejoiceth that He is our Brother, and Jesus rejoiceth that He is our Saviour. These are five high joys, as I understand, in which He willeth that we enjoy; Him praising, Him thanking, Him loving, Him endlessly blessing.

“God is Very Father and Very Mother of Nature: and all natures that He hath made to flow out of Him to work His will shall be restored and brought again into Him by the salvation of Mankind through the working of Grace”

Yet be we not adread of this, save inasmuch as dread may speed us: but meekly make we our moan to our dearworthy Mother, and He shall besprinkle us in His precious blood and make our soul full soft and full mild, and heal us full fair by process of time, right as it is most worship to Him and joy to us without end. And of this sweet fair working He shall never cease nor stint till all His dearworthy children be born and forthbrought. (And that shewed He where He shewed [me] understanding of the ghostly Thirst, that is the love-longing that shall last till Doomsday.)

If female imagery used for God makes us nervous, we can remember that the prophet Isaiah said it was as unlikely for God to forget his people as it is for a woman to forget her child (Isaiah 49:14-15)

14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”  15 Can a mother forget the baby at her breast  and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget,  I will not forget you!

Or we can turn to the words of Jesus in Luke 13:34: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

God is our Creator who sums up all that is good about both fathers and mothers and we are incomplete without this God in our lives.

the place that Jesus taketh in our Soul He shall never remove it, without end, as to my sight: for in us is His homliest home and His endless dwelling

For in Man’s Soul is His very dwelling; and the highest light and the brightest shining of the City is the glorious love of our Lord, as to my sight.

It is often difficult to see God in our lives now.  In my darkest days it is easy to wonder whether God is really there.  We certainly see only partially now, but we move through life with the hope that one day we shall see God face to face:

And at the end of woe, suddenly our eyes shall be opened, and in clearness of light our sight shall be full: which light is God, our Maker and Holy Ghost, in Christ Jesus our Saviour. Thus I saw and understood that our faith is our light in our night: which light is God, our endless Day.

And I saw full surely that ere God made us He loved us; which love was never slacked, nor ever shall be. And in this love He hath done all His works; and in this love He hath made all things profitable to us; and in this love our life is everlasting. In our making we had beginning; but the love wherein He made us was in Him from without beginning: in which love we have our beginning. And all this shall we see in God, without end.

Once again I end with her trust that “all shall be well“.  In the face of a world that is often a mess, filled with sin and death, we hold to the truth that one day it will all be put to rights and made well.

Pimps are Criminals who Beat Women…which is not Cool

Back when Emily and I were first married, before she worked at the cyber school, she taught at a Mennonite high school.  Most mornings I would pack her lunch for her, as she left much earlier than I did (I work with college students, why be on campus before 10?).  I often packed a simple lunch: a sandwich, piece of fruit, and some other snacks.

At the beginning of her next year of teaching Emily wanted to improve her lunch.  Rather than sandwiches, she was thinking wraps, for example.  I do not recall which of us used the word first, but we said we were going to “pimp” her lunch.

What we meant was we were going to improve her lunch, make it better.  The same terminology is used in pop culture, such as the famous television show Pimp My Ride.

Much of our culture glorifies pimps.  If you Google “pimp” you find among the top ten searches a site that will give you your “pimp name” and a website telling you how to be a real pimp.  I see the same thing occasionally on Twitter and Facebook : “pimps”, “pimping” = cool, to be admired, a good life.

In reality, pimps are criminals who beat and abuse women.

Pimps prey on underage girls.  They often begin by sweet-talking them to earn their trust.  They tell the girl that they are her boyfriend.  After a while the pimp says they need money and asks her to do something for him, to show her love.  This thing he wants her to do is have sex for money.  Often part of the girls’ training is to be raped by multiple men.  Pimps use physical and psychological abuse to keep the women in their “stable” obedient.

Let me say it again: pimps are criminals.  Pimps make thousands, millions, of dollars selling girls and women for sex.  And in case you want to say that the women chose that life, the average age of entry into prostitution is twelve years old so even many, if not most, women who are prostitutes over the age of 18 are victims of child abuse and rape.

Next time you want to talk about making your car or house or lunch better, choose a word other than “pimp”.  Let’s eliminate any positive reference to “pimp” in our vocabulary.  Instead, may we focus on the fact that pimps are criminals who should be locked up.

Want another article to read, try this one: Pimping Plays Role in US Human Trafficking

Most of us would probably agree that yes, we’re against trafficking and, of course, we’re against slavery, but a quick look at the music on our iPods or the artists we support might tell a different story. It’s critical that as consumers we begin to call out ‘pimping’ for what it is – trafficking, slavery, an extreme form of violence and abuse against women and children.

As a founder and executive director of GEMS, the nation’s largest service provider to commercially sexually exploited and trafficked girls and young women, I’ve listened to thousands of stories about pimps, seen and experienced firsthand their brutality and violence, visited girls in the hospital who’ve sustained major injuries and helped support the healing of girls who’ve been left with invisible scars, memories and trauma that are simply compounded by society’s continued acceptance and glorification of the men that hurt them so badly.

Frankly, it’s hard out here for a 13-year-old girl who’s under the control of an adult man who beats her daily, tattoos, brands, his name on her body to mark her as his property, who controls her every movement and forces her to have sex nightly with dozens of adult men and then takes her money. If that’s not trafficking and slavery I don’t know what is. I wish someone would make a song about her.